I have a bad attitude about August. This goes back to my days in grade school, when the whole month was ruined for me by its proximity to the start of school. The first day of August was always, for me, the day that it became impossible to ignore the fact that the Best Summer Ever that I had planned for myself back in May was in fact not likely to come to pass. August was the month for trying—hopelessly, joylessly—to pack in all the hedonistic fun and supposedly unforgettable adventure that had eluded me in June and July. By the time of my family’s annual Labor Day cookout, I had given up trying. I would look around at all the people enjoying the sunshine, the food, the good times, and I would think, “How can you people enjoy yourselves when you know that school starts tomorrow?”
Now that A.J. is getting ready to start first grade, and our house is busy with supply-buying and backpack-readying, all my August-phobia is bobbing back up to the surface again. Thanfully, my son has a healthier attitude about summer and the end of summer. He likes school, and has ever since we started him in pre-school. He’s thrilled to be starting first grade, and is keeping a running countdown on the chalkboard in his bedroom of the days left until school starts. I just hope he’s always so excited about school. This is one of those cases where I’m really glad he doesn’t take after his father.